Apply for Homeownership

Homeowner Qualifications

1. Need
The need for quality, affordable housing is the most important factor in the selection of a family. Need may be determined based on any of the following reasons:

  • Lack of basic plumbing, heat, appliances, or general poor conditions
  • Overcrowding – more than two children of the same gender per bedroom, two children of opposite gender in same bedroom, no separate bedroom for adults
  • Drug and/or high-crime area/dangerous living conditions
  • Rent is currently more than 30 percent of gross income

2. Partnership
Potential Habitat homeowners must commit to partner with Habitat Birmingham in the following ways:

  • Honesty on the application
  • Complete a minimum of 10 hours of homeowner education workshops
  • Complete required minimum 250 sweat equity (volunteer) hours. Should the applicant decide not to continue with Habitat Birmingham’s housing program, Habitat Birmingham will not reimburse or otherwise compensate for any sweat equity hours completed
  • Pay at least $2,000 down payment. Please note that $200 is due within 30 days from date approval letter is received. $200 is due each month (for the following eleven consecutive months) until down payment is paid in full. Should an applicant decide not to continue with Habitat Birmingham’s housing program, or the applicant is terminated from the program, Habitat Birmingham will refund down payment
  • Work on house construction site with family sponsor
  • Be available for interviews and/or photos as needed
  • Be on time for house dedications, house kick offs, etc (if applicable)
  • Be an advocate for Habitat Birmingham
  • Pay house mortgage on time each month

3. Ability to Repay Mortgage
Applicants must have the ability to pay for expenses related to home ownership including property upkeep and monthly mortgage payments. This is generally determined by:

  • Total household income within Habitat Birmingham guidelines, 40 – 80 percent of Jefferson County median income
  • History of financial responsibility
  • Consistent, verifiable income for at least one year
  • No unpaid collections, judgments or liens.  Any foreclosure or eviction must be at least 36 months old.
  • Chapters 13 and 7 bankruptcy must be discharged and show three years of established credit since. Debt to Income ratio must fall below 43% with Habitat home ownership.
  • Any applicant that is legally married but not legally separated at the point of application, must at least have initiated divorce procedures with a lawyer and the divorce must be final before your application can move forward in the process.
  • Self-employed applicants must show proof of a business license, income tax returns and year to date profit loss statement
  • If applicant has no verifiable or established credit they must show some proof of credit worthiness for a period of at least two years (utility bill, furniture bill, car note through in-house financing)

Habitat Birmingham staff do not select applicants. Applicants who appear to meet initial requirements are forwarded to a volunteer Family Selection Committee for thorough review and recommendation. Habitat Birmingham then conducts personal home visits and interviews with prospective home buyers who have been recommended by the Committee. Each approved prospective home buyer and Habitat Birmingham are required to sign a Partnership Agreement.

Applicants must reside in Jefferson, Shelby, Walker, or St. Clair counties for a minimum of one year prior to applying and must show proof of legal residency.


Notice: The Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age (provided the applicant has the capacity to enter into a binding contract); because all or part of the applicant’s income derives from any public assistance program; or because the applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The Federal agency that administers compliance with this law concerning this creditor is the Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580